Childcare in Toronto: when will fees be reduced?

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When the Ford government announced it had reached a $13.2 billion deal with Ottawa to lower the cost of child care, it hinted that some parents would start receiving rebate checks as early as May. .

But in the Greater Toronto Area, only one municipality has even started accepting applications from operators and it says it could still be weeks before it is able to distribute funds.

This, in turn, has many parents wondering when they might see financial relief.

Here’s an overview of the state of things in the GTA:


Toronto

A city spokesperson said a public meeting for licensed care operators is scheduled for June 22 and the membership process will begin on an as-yet-undisclosed date “later this this month”.

Shanley McNamee, executive director of Toronto Children’s Services, told CP24.com that the delay in opening the application portal is due to a desire “to ensure that licensed child care operators, with and without an existing relationship with the city, had the opportunity to participate in information sessions and town hall meetings prior to submitting their intent to participate in the Pan-Canadian Early Learning and Child Care Funding Program.

McNamee says the city has already received the funding to administer the program. She says staff will provide an information report to city council in July with further information.


York Region

A spokesperson said the region has developed an online application for licensed child care operators to opt-in or opt-out of the nation-wide child care program which will go live the week of June 20. The region also held two virtual operator briefings last week and posted a detailed fact sheet on its website. The spokesperson said the delay in accepting applications was to give staff time to review provincial guidelines released in April and develop processes to implement the program.


Durham Region

Durham’s membership process opened on June 6, but a spokesperson told CP24.com that approvals will not begin until July after the Regional Council formally approves the scheme at the end of this month. The spokesperson says information sessions for all licensed child care providers in the area have already been held on May 18 and again on June 6. Updates have also been provided to operators via the Early Learning Update newsletter, which is published publicly.


Region of Peel

The region plans to hold a technical session for operators on June 21 to explain the opt-in and opt-out process. It will then open the application process the next day, June 22. A spokesperson indicates that a first information session also took place on June 1.


Halton Region

A spokesperson said operators should be able to submit applications “in the coming weeks”, but warns that applications will not be reviewed until “late summer/early fall”. The delay in opening applications is attributed to the need “to develop supportive policies and procedures and finalize the application process,” the spokesperson said. Any updates on the administration of the program, including the opening of the application portal, will be posted on the Halton Region website.

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